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Hal Graboske

Hal Graboske
Acting Deputy Director for Science and Technology

Award Winning Technologies from Collaborative Efforts

PARTNERSHIPS and collaborations are important to the success of research and development organizations. Through them, one person’s idea can be developed from a new concept to a revolution in technology. In fact, most technological innovations made today advanced to that point through collaboration.
Researchers at the national laboratories play a key role in building the connections that turn ideas into the tools and technologies needed to accomplish the laboratories’ missions. At Livermore, our collaborations with universities often bring valuable breakthroughs that lead to a program’s success. With private industry partnerships, Livermore researchers have been developing and improving technologies and processes for more than 50 years. These partnerships are also a rich source for ideas and inventions that can lead to unanticipated products.
This year, when R&D Magazine included six Livermore developments in its annual list of the 100 best new products and processes, the awards also confirmed our important, tangible results from recent collaborations with other organizations.
The R&D 100 Award for BASIS, the Biological Aerosol Sentry and Information System, exemplifies a collaboration between two national security laboratories. BASIS is a detect-to-treat technology for countering an airborne terrorist attack. Submitted to the competition by Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is a joint accomplishment of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore. This award-winning technology is now an active element in the arsenal of defenses advanced by the Department of Homeland Security.
One of Livermore’s missions is to develop the computational capabilities needed to maintain the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. Success in this mission means continually pushing the limits of high-performance computing, and that requires steadily improving computer-chip technology. Two of the Laboratory’s R&D 100 awards are related to this challenge: the extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) full-field step-and-scan system and the ion-beam thin-film planarization process.
The EUVL full-field step-and-scan system was developed as part of the largest Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between national laboratories and private industry. This computer-chip lithography system writes and prints features one-half the size of those made by other systems, leading to microprocessors tens of times faster than today’s most powerful chips and to similar increases in computer memory capacity.
A key challenge in developing EUVL technology is to manufacture reticle blanks that are virtually defect-free. Ion-beam thin-film planarization is a deposition and etching process that smoothes the reticle surfaces as thin-film coatings are applied. Contaminated surfaces with particles up to 70 nanometers high can be smoothed until the coating is less than 1 nanometer high. As a result, much finer features can be written on chips.
A different type of collaboration is responsible for a new tool to measure eyesight aberrations. The microelectromechanical systems–based adaptive optics phoropter (MAOP) was developed in a collaboration among universities, national laboratories, and private industry—including optical component manufacturers and a leading provider of custom contact lenses. MAOP is an eye-correction system that significantly improves the diagnosis and treatment of eyesight aberrations. It also has the potential for use in treating ophthalmic and retinal disease.
The Laboratory has been a long-time leader in high-average-power lasers, and today, lasers are increasingly used in industrial applications. Our final two R&D 100 awards stem from Livermore’s expertise in laser technology.
The first is a thermally compensated Q-switch, which maintains the quality of a laser beam. The Q-switch produces a system that’s more compact and efficient than previous models. In addition, it is expected to allow laser systems to generate 5 kilowatts of average power—well beyond the capabilities of current switches.
LasershotSM Precision Metal Forming, which Livermore developed in collaboration with Metal Improvements Company, allows manufacturers to use lasers to precisely shape large metal sections. Because the shaped components retain the material’s strength, this metal-forming process is an important new tool for manufacturing stronger large shaped metal products, such as those used for aircraft components or nuclear waste canisters.
These six R&D 100 awards demonstrate the fruition of science and technology collaborations—with other national laboratories, universities, and private industries. Through such partnerships, Livermore researchers are better able to deliver the technological advances needed to strengthen the nation’s security. These endeavors also produce innovative products and capabilities—both the expected and the unexpected—that can benefit society.



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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
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UCRL-52000-03-10 | October 8, 2003